Alec Burnside
Senior Counsel | Brussels | London
Alec Burnside

Alec Burnside practices in the field of EU and UK competition law, working on cartels, dominance, mergers, and state aid, as well as the control of foreign direct investment and EU law more generally. Over the past three decades Mr. Burnside has played key roles for leading corporations, global industries and governments on issues arising across a broad spectrum of industries, including consumer products, energy and natural resources, financial services, manufacturing, military, pharmaceuticals, technology, telecoms, and transport and logistics. He appears before the European Commission and the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority, and in court appeals from their decisions, and is admitted to practice in both England and Belgium. 

He is a noted commentator, inter alia co-authoring the Dechert Antitrust Merger Investigation Timing Tracker (DAMITT),  which is the leading source of analysis for significant U.S. and EU antitrust merger investigation and litigation trends. Mr. Burnside has been widely published over many years, actively advancing law reform initiatives and exploring new dimensions in competition law. Currently, he is particularly invested in themes around Big Data and the tech industry, as well as antitrust and sustainability, focusing also on the new EU FDI regulation. 

Recently clients noted Mr. Burnside as "one of the icons of the competition Bar in Brussels" because of his "strong analytical skills and intellectual curiosity" (Chambers Global 2018). He has been recognized and recommended over many years as a leading lawyer for competition law in publications such as Chambers Global, Chambers Europe, The Legal 500 EMEA, Global Competition Review, International Financial Law Review and Best Lawyers in Belgium. In 2022, Mr. Burnside was recognized in The Legal 500 EMEA's "Hall of Fame" for Belgium Competition. He was named a “thought leader” in competition by Who’s Who Legal in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

Mr. Burnside also advises on post-Brexit strategy having chaired Dechert’s cross-practice Brexit Task Force, which comprised partners from across the globe and disciplines including antitrust, corporate, tax, employment, financial services and investment management, IP and data protection, litigation and international arbitration.

Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Burnside was resident in the Brussels office of another international law firm where he served as a partner in the antitrust practice. 

  • Aer Lingus on its merger with IAG, its defense of successive hostile takeover bids by Ryanair and appeals in the EU's General Court, as well as UK investigations into Ryanair's minority shareholding in Aer Lingus and related UK appeals.
  • Aer Lingus in relation to Ireland’s air passenger tax and associated state aid proceedings before the European Commission and European Courts.
  • Deutsche Post DHL as a third party in relation to the prohibited UPS/TNT merger and the FedEx/TNT merger, and on many acquisitions and other investigations, including international removals and state aid at Leipzig airport.
  • Getty Images and a number of other companies in the IT and media sector, in relation to the European Commission's investigation of Google's abuse of dominance in search on desktops and mobile devices.
  • A Japanese capacitor manufacturer in relation to the Commission’s electrolytic capacitor cartel investigation.
  • Monsanto in relation to merger proposals with Syngenta and Bayer.
  • The European Commission's investigation into alleged manipulation of pricing mechanisms on crude oil and derivative products.
  • Mergers creating BAE Systems, BHP Billiton and GlaxoSmithKline.
  • British American Tobacco on acquisitions, including privatizations in Italy and Turkey.

Includes matters handled at Dechert or prior to joining the firm.

  • “The Finer Points of Merger Control in FDI Transactions: for the Latest Pitfalls to Avoid for Multi-Jurisdictional Filings”, C5's 4th EU Forum on FDI Review and CFIUS — London (June 7-8, 2023)
  • Annual Symposium: Applying sustainability and environmental considerations in competition analysis - a path to explore? European Law and Economic Analysis (ELEA): the Competition Society — Bruges, Belgium (April 13, 2023)
  • “The views of competition law across borders: Scotland and the world”, UofG-FBLS Joint Symposium on Competition law after Brexit: divergence for differentiation or parallelism for consensus — Glasgow, Scotland (February 13, 2023)
  • Annual Advanced EU Competition Law, Brussels — InformaConnect (November 21-23, 2022)
  • Competition Law in the Digital Era: Adapting to the New Environment — InformaConnect (October 18, 2022) Download slide deck
    Conference Chair
  • GCR Connect: Sustainability & Cooperation 2022 — Global Competition Review, Virtual event (February 23, 2022) 
  • Expansive Jurisdiction in Merger Control —  Centre for Competition Law and Policy, University of Oxford, Virtual event (January 21, 2021) Download slide deck
  • Advanced EU Competition Conference — InformaConnect, Virtual Conference (November 23-24, 2021) 
  • Big Data & Competition Law — InformaConnect, Virtual Conference (October 19-20, 2021) Download slide deck
    Speaker, Chairs Opening Remarks; Chairs Welcome & Introduction 
  • Moving forward together: the UK and EU approach to regulating Big Tech — EU|UK Forum, Webinar (October 4, 2021) 
  • UK competition policy - The Penrose Review, priorities for the CMA, and next steps for regulatory reform, efficiency, and effectiveness — Westminster Business Forum, Virtual Conference (July 8, 2021)
  • GCR Interactive: Greenwashing or Green Virtue-Signalling? — GCR and Dechert, Virtual Conference (April 28, 2021) 
  • Google/Fitbit: is Merger Control fit(bit) for purpose in digital markets? Reflections on the EU and Australian reviews, and current reform proposals — University of Oxford Faculty of Law, Virtual Conference (February 5, 2021) Download Slide Deck
  • 8th Global Merger Control Conference Concurrences and Dechert, Virtual conference (December 2-4, 2020)
    Speaker, panel on "Round table of corporate lawyers: what definition for the relevant markets?" 
  • GCR Interactive: Foreign Investment and Protectionism — GCR, Virtual conference (December 1-2, 2020) 
    Speaker, panel on "EU screening mechanism and White Paper on foreign subsidies: balancing tensions"
  •  Advanced EU Competition Law Conference — Informa, Virtual conference (November 24, 2020) Download Slide Deck
    Speaker, panel on "Competition law in the digital sphere: big data, innovation & artificial intelligence"
  • Big Data and Competition Law Conference — Informa, Virtual conference (October 20, 2020) Download Slide Deck 
  • Sustainability Goals and Antitrust: Finding the common ground — Dechert LLP and Concurrences, Webinar (September 14, 2020) View Panel Recording or Read the Event Synthesis
  • Vertical Mergers: Assessing Antitrust Risk and Maximizing Clearance Prospects — Dechert LLP and Lexology, Webinar (June 10, 2020) 
  • Foreign Direct Investment: Globalization in Reverse? — Dechert LLP and The Brunswick Group Arkadin, Webinar (May 28, 2020) 
  • Advanced EU Competition Law Conference – Digital Focus Day — Knect 365, Brussels, Belgium (November 25, 2019) 
    Chair of the conference 
  • European Justice Stakeholders Forum — 2019 Plenary, Brussels, Belgium (November 19, 2019)
    Speaker, panel on Charter of Fundamental Rights in practice
  • Living Wage and Living Income Conference — Rotterdam, Netherlands (November 5, 2019)
    Speaker, panel on Sustainability and Competition Policy: bringing two worlds to enable a fairer economy     
  • Sustainability and Competition Policy Conference — GCLC, Fairtrade, Brussels, Belgium (October 24, 2019)         
    Chair of the conference 
  • Big Data & Competition Law Conference — Knect 365, Brussels, Belgium (October 15, 2019)   
    Chair of the conference                                                              
  • Luxembourg Annual Investment Funds Conference — Dechert, Luxembourg (October 3, 2019)
    Speaker,  Brexit state of play                                                        
  • 7th Annual MLex Competition Conference  — MLex, London, UK (September 20, 2019)     
    Speaker, panel on "Trends in antitrust policy: implications for enforcement and litigation"     
  • MergerFest 2019 — Cornerstone Research, Brussels, Belgium (June 27, 2019) 
    Speaker, panel on "Nascent (or Killer?) Acquisitions"                                       
  • European Forum on Foreign Investment Security Reviews and CFIUS — C5, London, UK   (June 20, 2019)
    Speaker, panel on "Successful Strategies to Structure a Deal to Pass Clearance: What to do on the Frontend"
  • 23rd annual Dominance conference — KNect, Brussels, Belgium  (June 6, 2019)
    Speaker, panel on “Remedies”             
  • Trends in Retail Competition: Private Labels, Brands and Competition Policy — University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy, Oxford, UK (May 24, 2019)
    Speaker, panel on  "Keeping digital markets competitive" 
  • 28th Annual Advanced EU Competition Law Conference — Knect365, London, UK (May 15, 2019)
    Speaker, “Competition Law in the Age of Protectionism”
  • 22nd IBA Annual Competition Conference — Presented by the IBA Antitrust Committee, St Regis Hotel, Florence (September 14-15, 2018)
    Speaker, "New Competition Theories of Harm" — a panel on new substantive theories of antitrust harm evolving around the globe, such as the innovation theory of harm in mergers, common ownership concerns, increased scrutiny of vertical mergers, exploitative abuses, and potential new theories around big data and its use.
  • The Path towards Modern EU Competition Policy: a 50+ year retrospective — Brussels (June 21, 2018)
    Presentation Leader, "Competition and Innovation: From a General to a Specific Concern?"
  • Interim measures & EU competition proceedings: Is there a case for reform? — Brussels (June 8, 2018)
    Speaker, panel on the limited use of the Commission’s power to order rapid provisional relief, and the pros and cons of possible reforms.
  • Competition Section annual conference 2018: debating key competition law developments — The Law Society, London (May 17, 2018)
    Speaker, "Digital and Emerging Technologies."
  • 26th Annual Advanced EU Competition Law 2017 — Brussels, Belgium (November 21, 2017)
    Speaker, "Big Data, Data Rights and Privacy: New Frontier for Competition Law." View Mr. Burnside's presentation slides.
  • Online Markets and Offline Welfare Effects – The Internet, Competition, Society and Democracy — Presented by the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy, Pembroke College, Oxford (May 22, 2017)
    Speaker, panel on Digital Economy and Consumer Welfare.
  • Brexit: What Effect Upon the Transport Sector? — Competition Law in the Transport Sector, Novotel Amsterdam City, The Netherlands (January 31, 2017)
    Speaker, panel on ownership restrictions for airlines, the impact of Brexit on the UK as a venue for damages litigation, and Open Skies post- Brexit.
  • Has Antitrust Failed?: Antitrust Law Section Annual Meeting — Presented by the New York State Bar Association, New York, NY (January 26, 2017)
    Speaker, “Has Antitrust Failed?” — a panel on whether antitrust has allowed too much concentration, whether the global high-tech, big data companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook already seized control of big data, and whether consolidation has negative implications for innovation, consumer choice, and other competitive effects.
  • Big Data and Competition Law 2016 — IBC Legal Conferences, Brussels (October 25, 2016) 
  • EDPS-BEUC Conference on Big Data: Individual Rights and Smart Enforcement — European Data Protection Supervisor, Brussels (September 29, 2016) 
  • Competition Law Challenges in the Transport Sector — IBC Legal Conferences, London (January 27, 2016) 
  • Antitrust, Regulation and New Business Models — Jevons Institute for Competition Law and Economics, Washington, D.C. (November 3, 2015) 
  • A Quarter Century of EUMR: What Next in the World of Merger Control? — MLex Market Insight, Brussels (October 6, 2015) 
  • 3rd Annual GCR Live — GIR, New York (September 18, 2015) 
  • The Role of 'Big Data' in Competition Law — British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London (September 9, 2015) 
  • GCR Live 4th Annual Telecoms, Media & Technology — GCR, London (July 2, 2015) 
  • Competition Law in the Aviation Sector 2015 — IBC Legal Conferences, Brussels (January 29, 2015) 
  • EU Competition Law — QED 2014 EU Competition Law Summit, Brussels (September 11, 2014) 
  • Competition Law Challenges in the Financial Services Sector 2014 — IBC Legal Conferences, London (July 12, 2014) 
  • Conflicts of Interest, Ethical Rules and Impartiality in EU Competition Policy — Concurrences, Brussels (April 24, 2014) 
  • International Forum EU Competition Law — Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht, Brussels (April 3, 2014) 
  • Dominance & Pricing 2014 — IBC Legal Conferences, Brussels (March 18, 2014) 
  • GCR Live 3rd Annual Antitrust Law Leaders Forum — GCR, Miami (February 7, 2014) 
  • Competition Law Challenges in the Aviation Sector 2014 — IBC Legal Conferences, Brussels (February 4, 2014) 
  • 12th Annual Compliance & Ethics Institute — Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics, Washington, D.C. (October 6, 2013) 
  • EU Merger Control in Review - Taking Stock — GCLC, Brussels (July 12, 2013) 
  • BSB Careers Day — The British School of Brussels, Brussels (October 22, 2012)

A look at the treatment of abusive mergers in Europe (Art. 22 Of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004, Art. 102 TFEU, Etc.) – Concurrences: N° 1-2024 (March 2024)

Competition Law and Sustainability: Where Have We Reached?Concurrences: Sustainability and Competition Policy (February 2023) [click here to view the entire publication]

Merger control meets FDI: the multi-stop shop expands Competition Law & Policy Debate (August 2022)

Hand in hand: EU competition policy embracing (environmental) sustainability – Competition Law Insight (Spring 2022)

Industrial strategy: Europe to control foreign subsidies threatening the internal market – Competition Law Insight (Summer 2021)

Google/Fitbit: Merger control unfit for purpose? – Competition Law Insight (Spring 2021)

Services Industries
    • University of Cambridge, Downing College, 1982
    • College of Law, London, 1983
    • Institut d’Etudes Europeennes, Brussels, 1984
    • Brussels
    • England and Wales
    • English
    • French
    • German
    • Associate of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, London